IMIS | Flanders Marine Institute

Flanders Marine Institute

Platform for marine research


Publications | Institutes | Persons | Datasets | Projects | Maps
[ report an error in this record ]basket (0): add | show Printer-friendly version

Chronic dietary mercury exposure causes oxidative stress, brain lesions, and altered behaviour in Atlantic salmon (Salmo salar) parr
Berntssen, M.H.G.; Aatland, A.; Handy, R.D. (2003). Chronic dietary mercury exposure causes oxidative stress, brain lesions, and altered behaviour in Atlantic salmon (Salmo salar) parr. Aquat. Toxicol. 65(1): 55-72
In: Aquatic Toxicology. Elsevier Science: Tokyo; New York; London; Amsterdam. ISSN 0166-445X, more
Peer reviewed article  

Available in  Authors 

    Behaviour; Feed; Histology; Lipid peroxidation; Lipids; Mercury; Methylmercury; Salmo salar Linnaeus, 1758 [WoRMS]; ANE, Norway [Marine Regions]; Marine

Authors  Top 
  • Berntssen, M.H.G., correspondent
  • Aatland, A.
  • Handy, R.D.

    Atlantic salmon (Salmo salar L.) parr were fed for 4 months on fish meal based diets supplemented with mercuric chloride (0, 10, or 100 mg Hg kg-1 DW) or methylmercury chloride (0, 5, or 10 mg Hg kg-1 DW) to assess the effects of inorganic (Hg) and organic dietary mercury on brain lipid peroxidation and neurotoxicity. Lipid peroxidative products, endogenous anti oxidant enzymes, brain histopathology, and overall behaviour were measured. Methylmercury accumulated significantly in the brain of fish fed 5 or 10 mg kg-1 by the end of the experiment, and inorganic mercury accumulated significantly in the brain only at 100 mg kg-1 exposure levels. No mortality or growth reduction was observed in any of the exposure groups. Fish fed 5 mg kg-1 methylmercury had a significant increase (2-fold) in the antioxidant enzyme super oxide dismutase (SOD) in the brain. At dietary levels of 10 mg kg-1 methylmercury, a significant increase (7-fold) was observed in lipid peroxidative products (thiobarbituric acid reactive substances, TBARS) and a subsequently decrease (1.5-fold) in anti oxidant enzyme activity (SOD and glutathione peroxidase, GSH-Px). Fish fed 10 mg kg-1 methylmercury also had pathological damage (vacoulation and necrosis), significantly reduced neural enzyme activity (5-fold reduced monoamine oxidase, MAO, activity), and reduced overall post-feeding activity behaviour. Pathological injury started in the brain stem and became more widespread in other areas of the brain at higher exposure levels. Fish fed 100 mg Hg kg-1 inorganic mercury had significant reduced neural MAO activity and pathological changes (astrocyte proliferation) in the brain, however, neural SOD and GSH-Px enzyme activity, lipid peroxidative products (TBARS), and post feeding behaviour did not differ from controls. Compared with other organs, the brain is particular susceptible for dietary methylmercury induced lipid peroxidative stress at relative low exposure concentrations. Doses of dietary methylmercury in the range of 5 mg kg-1 induces protective redox defences in the brain as seen from the induction of anti-oxidant enzyme SOD activity. However, above a threshold of 10 mg kg-1 methylmercury these defences are overcome and lipid peroxidative injury (TBARS) as well as severe pathological damage and adverse behaviour become apparent.

All data in IMIS is subject to the VLIZ privacy policy Top | Authors